Salvation as the Great Invitation to Life with Christ

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In 1986, I joined the United States military, due to a life that was going nowhere. I tried college on several occasions, only failing, due to a lack of interest. I do not know if it was a lack of interest towards college or life, but I identified that I was empty and in despair, in such a dynamic way. My first assignment was to Ramstein, Germany and it was there that I realized the

Air Force was not going to be able to fill the void and emptiness of my life. One lonely evening, while sitting around a crowd of friends, the emptiness of my heart became so over whelming that I asked the man whom I attended the event with, to take me home. The party, the people, the alcohol, the cigarettes and the sexual encounters with men could no longer satisfy my deeply rooted needs to self-actualize, therefore I found myself lost in the midst of a complicated life. The guy took me home, however on the way home, I observed a historical Christian monument in the center of one of the little towns. I asked the guy to pull over and I jumped out of his car and ran to the monument. Somehow in my heart I knew I found the answer, or should I say the answer found me. There He was, nailed to the cross. As I looked up at Jesus, I knew in my heart that it was my sins that put Him there on that cross. I was sorrowful, and my tears ran heavy down my cheeks. I decided in my heart that if I could just touch his feet, my life would somehow change. So, I begin to climb up the monument and I touched His feet. There, sobbing and crying like a little child, I began to experience the joys of a child who was lost and had just found their loving parent after many years lost. I hung on to his feet for dear life, never wanting to be separated again. As I looked up at Jesus, a mist of rain fell from Heaven to my face. I thought maybe, this rain midst was His way, of crying too. I climbed down from the monument knowing, Jesus heard the cry of my heart and He would surely answer me (Jeremiah 33:3). That day, I accepted the love of Christ into my heart and accept His fulfilling gift of Salvation. I am one hundred percent sure He orchestrated the series of events that followed, in the days to come. One of his servants invited me to Church and it was there that I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior officially before the Church. The distress of emptiness, loneliness, hurts and disappointment in my life was gone. Jesus saved me! Glory to God! Hallelujah!

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So, what does it mean to be saved? In the Old Testament there are many words used for salvation, however the Hebrew word, “yasha” (to save, help in distress, rescue, deliver from danger or suffering, set free) is found repeatedly. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation. In the New Testament is found the Greek word “soteria,” which signifies a deliverance, preservation and safety. Salvation is also used in the Bible to entitle health, well-being, healing and a sum of benefits and blessings. Sometimes the Bible uses the words saved and salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance such as Paul’s deliverance from prison (Philippians 1:19).

Luke 7:50, tells of a woman, whose life was in the condition of my life before salvation life. She must have been pretty empty and lonely herself. She went to a Pharisee’s house to encounter a man who could change the hopeless conditions of her very life. Jesus! She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood at Jesus’ feet behind Him weeping and she began to wash His feet with her tears; and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. The love she displayed is one of a penitent heart. Jesus used this woman’s situation to show us that when we realize the dept of our sin, the greatness of God’s mercy is there for us. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Here “saved” is the Greek word “Sozo.” It means to save, heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, deliver from physical death by healing, and from spiritual death by forgiving sin and its effects. Sozo in primitive cultures is translated simply, “to give new life” and to cause to have a new heart.

When you accept Jesus as your Lord, you are saved from the penalty of sin (Romans 5:9). Salvation offers a life of freedom providing deliverance from the dominion of sin in our lives (Roman 6:14). Salvation protects us from earthly dangers and Psalm 91 says we are delivered from pestilence which includes sickness and disease, famine, earthquakes and other calamities. It says we will be protected from sudden death that comes by weapons of man. It promises long and satisfying life and deliverance from every kind of trouble that comes our way. This is amazing and wonderful however we must claim our salvation in Christ to experience the promises that our Salvation brings through Jesus our Christ.

In Matthew’s Gospel the angel tells Joseph that Mary will conceive a child of the Holy Spirit, and that he is ‘to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21-23). The name ‘Jesus’ is derived from the Hebrew name Joshua which means “the Lord is salvation.” Luke 19:10 tells us that Jesus came to seek out and save the lost. God had a plan. Peter exclaims, ‘Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified’ and the ‘God [who raised him] from the dead,’ moves him to the exclusive confession that salvation belongs only to the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12).

It is therefore ‘Christ crucified’ that is of central theme of our salvation (1 Cor 1:23). ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,’ (1 Cor 15:3) and was handed to death for our trespasses (Romans 4:25). What Jesus did in our name he also did in our place, giving ‘his life as a ransom for many,’ (Matthew 20:28). And if Christ demonstrated his love by dying when we were still sinners, how much more shall we now be saved by his life? (Romans 5:8-10).

Therefore, what must I do to be saved? Personal repentance and faith associated closely with a water baptism symbolizing a repentance for the forgiveness of sins is the process (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38, Acts 20:21). Jesus says salvation requires belief in him (Mark 16:15; John 6:47). Paul charged that confession (by mouth) that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and belief that God raised Him from the dead (Roman 10:8, 9) are also relevant.

It is God’s desire for you to know His plan of Salvation. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? (Mark 8:36). Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “He that believeth on the Son hast everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

Let’s some up Salvation in this manner. John 3:16 sums up the Gospel briefly: First it identifies that we find the source of our Salvation, “the love of God;” Secondly it gives us the means by which our salvation comes, “His only begotten Son;” and Thirdly it identifies the mode by which we receive it, “Faith in His Son.”   

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